Liquid Barcodes


Digital Drives Dunkin’ Donuts

Paula Thomas, Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes


Two distinct ideas caught my interest when reviewing Dunkin’ Donuts‘ loyalty strategy. With a familiar global brand identity described as ‘fresh, fun and familiar’, I had assumed the same approach might apply to their loyalty marketing programme – DD Perks®, but their recent digital initiatives are much more innovative than that.

Alongside menu innovations such as donut fries, they’ve implemented some clever and unique campaigns leveraging powerful payments partnerships in a way I have not seen before. They’ve also adopted voice-enabled technology to drive growth for the programme they initially launched in 2014, describing it as the ‘foundation for one-to-one marketing‘ with their customers. And clearly their strategy is working – the DD Perks programme now boasts over 8 million members, of which 2 million were added in 2017 alone!

This article describes the customer benefits and their ambitious approach – focused on ‘positioning Dunkin’ Donuts as America’s most-loved, beverage-led, on-the-go brand.’

DD new

Programme Basics:

  1. Free drink for enrolling in the programme.
  2. Earn 5 DD Perks points for every $1 you spend.
  3. Free drink of choice when you achieve 200 points (a $40 spend).
  4. Free drink to celebrate your birthday.
  5. Pre-ordering your drinks is easy and the app functionality includes location-identification for drinks to be prepared at just the right time.
  6. The app includes the ability to share your rewards with friends and family.
  7. Twice a year, DD Perks members enjoy ‘Perk Week‘ – a full week of additional valuable offers, competitions, and promotional points for orders.

The DD Perks programme is clearly very well thought-out and well-designed, and many of these benefits are similar to (or even identical to) competitor programmes. However it’s worth noting the relative generosity of the DD Perks programme. Rewards are available after every $40 spend, which is much faster than competitor programmes – for example the spend requirement  for a reward with Starbucks is 50% higher at $62.50. This may reflect the profile of customers who buy their daily drinks in Dunkin Donuts rather than Starbucks but will certainly appeal to those customers who do the mental math for any loyalty programme before signing up.

Dunkin Donuts app

Version 5 of Dunkin Donuts US App – launched June 2018

Payments Partnerships:

While coffee programmes naturally use free drinks very simply as rewards for their customers (as above), Dunkin’ Donuts has gone a step further and run Perks loyalty campaigns on two separate occasions with payment partners. Firstly with Visa card, then Mastercard – offering customers bonus credit for every $10 top-up, or simply a FREE $5 credit to their account. In these cases, the reward is even-more tangible as cash in the brand’s app or wallet.

These offers are typically funded by partners from their acquisition budgets, as they access this personal and powerful channel to indirectly (but very effectively) market to DD Perks members. Once the initial payment card has been set up in the loyalty application, it will enjoy high usage frequency, and it’s likely that these payment cards will rarely be updated or changed, delivering long term returns for the partner. Dunkin’ Donuts benefits by giving members a ‘free’ perk/benefit – a highly cost-effective reward approach (affectionately known in the industry as ‘other people’s money’). Customers of course, benefit simply from the free credit.

DD Perks week

Leveraging AI:

Dunkin’ Donuts launched it’s mobile order-and-pay functionality later than competitors in 2016, and described the functionality as it’s biggest service change since launching drive-thru – fixing its two biggest customer complaints – queueing to order and collect (which causes customer frustration) as well as order errors. In an industry with increasing levels of personalisation, app orders allows Dunkin customers to specify their exact requirements as they would in-store – with a particular focus on re-orders for simplicity and consistency. This basic functionality was essential to allow Dunkin’ Donuts to catch up with consumer behaviour changes in competitor stores, and as adoption increases, it may also reduce business costs for the whole industry, with estimates that 30% of store staff currently are required to simply take customer orders.

Dunkin Donuts

Further digital enhancements are even more exciting, with Dunkin’ Donuts one of the first mass market brands to leverage artificial intelligence to power voice-assisted orders from mobile – described as the next frontier of brand marketing. Launched in March 2018, the DD Perks app has been integrated with Google Assistant for both iphone and Android users, and this artificial-intelligence-led functionality signals the next phase of it’s digital evolution designed to further enhance the speed and functionality of mobile pre-ordering and payment. Sherrill Kaplan, Vice President of Digital Innovation at Dunkin’ Brands described the integration as “yet another exciting example of our commitment to enhancing speed, convenience and our overall brand experience for our loyal guests.”

Members of the DD Perks programme link their loyalty account to a Google account and the assistant functionality is triggered by simply speaking to the phone with the phrase “Hey Google, talk to Dunkin’ Donuts.” The ordering capability is focused on saved favorites and items previously ordered via the Dunkin’ Mobile® App. Once the order is placed, the app will estimate the customers exact location on Google Maps, estimate the time to reach the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant and ensure the order is prepared for collection at exactly that time.

As one of the first mainstream brands to launch this type of functionality, it’s great to see that the brand has published a video explanation on how it works, so it will be fascinating to see whether customers adopt this channel in the way the brand clearly hopes.

New, New, New

In closing, my final observation from reviewing this iconic brand and it’s digital and loyalty strategy is to note the sheer number of strategic appointments made by DunkinBrands recently. A new CEO, a new creative agency, a new US media agency, and a new Vice-President of Digital and Loyalty Marketing have all been announced in just the last three months – signalling a new level of energy, determination and hopefully results for Dunkin’ Donuts and DD Perks.

Dunkin Donuts

September 2018 Update:

Dunkin’ Donuts has dropped the word “Donuts” from it’s brand name – becoming simply “Dunkin”.

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.

How we do it:

We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.

Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.

One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.

Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:

About Me:

Paula Thomas

Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant.

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards. 


Blog post

Circle K Makes a Splash With Car Wash Subscription Program in Europe

Circle K has extended its highly successful car wash subscription program to Norway after successful implementations in the United States, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia. Circle K’s vast global network of car washes has digitally transformed operations with its revolutionary car wash subscription program. First launched in Denmark and the U.S. in 2020, the program […]

Blog post

Newly Redesigned Brezelkönig App Accepts Payments and Rewards Loyalty

Swiss foodservice chain Brezelkönig releases app update which offers customers the convenience of earning rewards and paying for products with the app in stores.  The recently-updated Brezelkönig app allows pretzel-loving customers to enjoy recognition and rewards for their loyalty. Additionally, the Brezelkönig app accepts payments to make the customer experience even more convenient.  Brezelkönig is […]

Blog post

Sunshine Gasoline Introduces ACH-Only Mobile Payment for Fuel

Florida convenience retailer releases fuel payment app accepting only ACH payment, saving thousands in payment processing fees for the retailer. Sunshine Gasoline upgraded its Max Carwash App to Sunshine Brand featuring a special fuel pay program, powered by C-StorePay by Liquid Barcodes, which allows consumers to conveniently pay for fuel using the app. Customers simply […]

Blog post

2022: An Outstanding Year for Liquid Barcodes and Our Customers

In 2022, Liquid Barcodes witnessed a year of unprecedented growth with customers, products and team members. Every great business has an inspiring founding story and Liquid Barcodes’ 10-year journey is inspiring the future of loyalty. Beginning as a startup in Norway, the company opened its second office in the United States in early 2022 and […]

Blog post

What Is C-StorePay?

Liquid Barcodes’ proprietary C-StorePay makes paying for fuel, in-store merchandise, and subscription programs convenient for customers, reduces credit card fees for retailers, and integrates easily into existing loyalty programs Announced in October 2022, the revolutionary Liquid Barcodes C-StorePay product rose to the top of retailers’ 2022 wish lists at the NACS Show, even achieving a […]

Blog post

Polish Retail Leader Żabka Launches Coffee Subscription Program

Polish retail giant, Żabka introduces a monthly coffee subscription program across its vast store network. With its new coffee subscription program, Żabka Polska will certainly dominate the beverage category in Poland’s unique convenience market. In July 2022, Dr. Adam Manikowski, Managing Director of Żabka Polska, was featured on the popular Global Convenience Store Focus video […]

Blog post

Loyalty Apps Engage Customers

98% of loyalty app users love using a loyalty app and want more features from it. In September 2022, NACS published a report examining customer engagement with convenience loyalty programs. Unsurprisingly, customers feel most engaged, appreciated and valued by the stores to which they belong in a loyalty or membership program – nearly ¾ of […]

Blog post

Save Thousands in Credit Card Fees With ACH

Visa and Mastercard announced an increase in interchange fees earlier in the year and retailers are taking action and sending a message by migrating their customers to new solutions, including mobile app-based ACH payments, and in the process increasing profits by not only reducing credit card fees but also boosting loyalty via innovative app-based incentive […]

Blog post

Maxol Launches First-of-Its-Kind Loyalty App

Maxol, Ireland’s largest family-owned forecourt and convenience retailer, announced it has launched a new customer loyalty app with never-before-seen features in the Irish market. After more than a century serving Irish customers, Maxol’s 240+ stores and service stations are located throughout Ireland and have enjoyed global recognition for their best-in-class operations, store design and offers. […]

Blog post

Delivering Personalized Content With Machine Learning and Image Recognition

Build personalized customer connections, improve efficiency, and make intelligent, data-driven decisions using machine learning and image recognition.   It’s 7:15 in the morning and a customer – Amy – is on her way to work. She is on the hunt for coffee and breakfast and stops at a convenience store. She opens her store app […]

Blog post

Circle K’s Use of Beacon Technology to Activate Car Wash Subscription Program

Beacon Technology and Car Wash Subscription Programs Beacon technology used in tandem with a customer-facing car wash subscription program revolutionizes the customer experience by providing a quick, convenient experience. Innovation is the key to continued growth and ensuring a frictionless customer experience should be top of mind for any retailer. Circle K’s vast global network […]

Liquid Barcodes

Put a rocket under your loyalty program

With our loyalty platform, we help design and operate world-class, tailor-made subscription and reward programs that make sure your customers always come back.

Book a Demo →

We are trusted by global brands.

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes

Convenience retailers all over the world have engaged and rewarded consumers with our tailor-made loyalty programs.

To our case studies →

Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes
Liquid Barcodes